Marvel’s playbook is to teach us with individual films to introduce their Avengers. This all before bringing them together in a big heroic, action-packed film appropriately called The Avengers. Now prior to a follow-up to it, which will feature all of the awesome superheroes for a second outing, the all-American soldier Steve Rogers is back for another chapter in his story.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2013) Marvel Review
Trying to adjust to his life working as a S.H.I.E.L.D agent who lives in the 21st century isn’t easy for Steve Rogers (Chris Evans). Unable to embrace the life, Steve spends his days visiting WWII museums, which brings him closer to his reality. It also allows him to fondly remember the best girl he knows, Peggy. Steve has to learn what it means to protect in a whole new way. His latest mission nearly goes array when fellow S.H.I.E.L.D agent, Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), goes off course. Upon Steve’s return, he confronts his superior Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), only to learn he doesn’t know the real mission.
Unhappy with the ambiguous work, Steve learns his boss has more than one secret. It’s these that lead an injured Fury to Steve’s door. This forces Steve’s pretty neighbor, Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) to reveal herself as an agent. All of this sets into motion a series of dangerous events, including traitors inside S.H.I.E.L.D.
Action movies don’t mess around; they seem to take the title very seriously, using the “bigness” of their frames to pack in one too many near-climaxes. While fun, this usually is at the expense of good characterization. But this seems to be the one Marvel franchise that cares about its protagonists; they also minimize the damages. There is a plot because it’s not obscured by things that go boom. To be honest, I don’t remember everything about ‘The First Avenger.’ What I do recall is it being longer than need be (ironically this runs longer but doesn’t seem to) and also it’s been too long since last I saw it.
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What starts in The Avengers follows through in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. What’s most amusing about this script is how it plays with Steve’s culture shock (if you will). Steve and Natasha’s banter is adorable, too, all of which goes to the script. Also another nice element of camaraderie is the introduction of the man who becomes “Falcon,” Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie). These characters are some of my favorite in this Marvel universe and also include returning favorite Cobie Smulders as Agent Hill and Robert Redford. Speaking of the cast, I must confess to surprise that Emily VanCamp doesn’t play a larger role; though if her final scene suggests anything it’s that she’ll be back fighting fit in future.
The plot, as with everything before it, does rely on ‘The First Avenger’ however this still has a “big reveal” to work out. All of the Avengers are favorite heroes, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Steve. Maybe because he’s a moral person with a heart of gold or maybe I admire his loyalty and the way he respectfully questions everything, even if a difficult truth. Either way, Steve Rogers probably tops the list at the end of any day.
With spectacular action sequences, an engaging cast and scenes that inspire an emotional sense of patriotism, this is good. It’s does its job for The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and with a promise of more titular installments, we’ll certainly see the Captain again. Who knows, maybe by then he’ll even have the courage to call a certain someone. *wink*
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Content; there’s three-four “major” action sequences. Nearly all of them result in casualties and another involves a man who is shot by machine guns and a car crash. The climax topples a building and blows up a fleet of flying ships; also in this sequence, men suffer burns, knife and/or gunshot wounds. There may be some minor sexual innuendo and a rare instance of a general profanity. The film is PG13.